Former Huddersfield gymnast and pub landlord Brian Hayhurst and his wife Elaine are ex-pats who have lived just outside Fuengirola on the Costa del Sol for 20 years. He writes every fortnight for Huddersfield Hub.

It has become most evident, more recently, that Brexit is causing many more problems and stress here with Schengen rules and regulations coming thick and fast for residents, and more so those who would like to live here, or in the other 25 European countries.

Despite the 90-day restriction, people are buying properties in the thousands (especially Brits). And the horrendous issues at UK airports, plus the lack of staffing within certain airlines, has not put people off purchasing their dream second/holiday home, leaving estate agents desperate for more properties to sell.

Tourism in most areas of Southern Spain is back to pre-pandemic times. The first four months of 2022 saw a 755% rise in visitors, according to official figures.

And with restaurants and the hospitality sector generally busy most days, there are still lots of vacancies, particularly for professional waiters. Unemployment in Spain is the lowest since 2008.

There were many groups and ex-pat families who celebrated the Queen’s Jubilee with huge parties and gatherings across the Costa.

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The Lions Club was one of several who took advantage of the celebration and at the same time raised much needed cash for animal charities. We all enjoyed endless days of sunshine, sometimes with record breaking temperature levels.

The music concert season is in full swing all over Spain. The Rolling Stones rocked Madrid last week as did Simply Red with an incredible open-air concert beneath the ancient Fuengirola castle. Dozens of tribute acts are filling smaller theatres and auditoriums – mainly outdoors, of course.

As the roads become even busier, two more things drivers might now want to consider.

  • From July all new vehicles sold in Spain must be fitted with a tamper proof breathalyser device which prevents the driver from starting the car, if over the limit! It will be interesting to see if there is rise in new car sales through June!
  • There have been several cases where police have pulled over drivers who are still using their UK driving licence, even though they had several chances to change it for a Spanish one up to May 31. They could ultimately take the Spanish drivers’ test to qualify for one! This test is both theory and practical – predominately in Spanish, and costs around €400.

There is still much confusion for some non-resident motorists who have their name on the local council register (the Padron), who have been pulled in and questioned by traffic cops, saying “that by being on the register implies they are residents!”

We have heard of fines being issued to these unsuspecting drivers, even though they are here within the max 90-day stay.

This is an example of Spain’s infamous bureaucracy, which is even baffling some lawyers. How come most of the other countries in the Schengen area accept UK licences without question?

Finally, anyone who has had the pleasure of visiting the famous Mijas Pueblo and its historic features will be pleased to know that the equally famous donkey taxi fleet are now receiving regular and professional veterinary checks.

Maria Bros, a veterinary surgeon, has assured the Town Hall that these loveable animals will receive on-going welfare and general care.

I recommend Alan Boardman’s historic tour where he explains in detail the care of the family-owned donkeys.

And finally, finally…the government is to instigate fines for restaurants who refuse to offer clients a ‘doggy bag’. This is an attempt to cut down on food wastage.